Sometimes, pictures paint an image words simply cannot. 2019 told hundreds of stories, and our photojournalists were able to capture those moments through the lens. From moving shots to action-filled stills, there was plenty to see in the Gainesville area. Photographers Chris Day, Emily Felts, Margaret Dotson and Sam Thomas chose their five favorite photos from 2019 and explained what their photos mean to them.
Children and parents alike dressed up Tuesday night to trick-or-treat at Shoppes at Thornebrook. About 200 people came to the event, which was hosted by Shoppes At Thornebrook and Thornebrook Chocolates. During the evening there was a costume contest that awarded gift cards for creative costumes. The shopping center was decorated with inflatable Halloween decor so families could take festive pictures.
About 200 people got into the Halloween spirit Thursday evening during Ghouls, Goblins and Greeks, hosted by UF’s Junior Panhellenic Council. The event, held on Sorority Row, brought families from around Gainesville to trick-or-treat at the various sorority houses. In addition to different games and treats, each house featured its own unique theme, ranging from pirates to aliens.
Halloween came early for kids who attended the second annual First Responders Trunk or Treat event Friday night. The event, presented by the Youth and Community Resource Unit of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, was held in the grassy lot near the station. People received free food and candy, played games and won prizes. This year, about 300 people attended.
Members of Gainesville Fire Rescue Station 3 spend their day answering emergency calls. When the firefighters aren’t helping people in need, they are preparing for potential emergencies. On Tuesday morning, 13 volunteers from GFR participated in an active shooter drill alongside members of Gainesville Police Department at the Santa Fe College Kirkpatrick Center. They spent the rest of the day responding to various calls about injuries, medical issues and a small house fire. “We come to work every day and are presented with something new,” Lieutenant Andrew Marsh, a member of GFR said. “We’re called every day to what could be the worst day of someone’s life and we have the skill and ability to change the situation into something far better.”
Todd and Michelle Yoder have been coming to UF home games for about 20 years. Of those two decades, about 15 or 16 were spent visiting in an RV. “When we first started coming, we slept in our van,” Michelle said. “After six or seven years of that, we were like ‘We’re going to get a motor home and tailgate.’”Ever since they moved to High Springs five years ago, their trips to Gainesville have become significantly easier and shorter.“People would ask us, ‘So are you still going to take the RV?’ because we only live like fifteen minutes away, and I’m like ‘Yeah, we’re going to bring the RV.”’ Todd said.This is the Yoder family’s first year in their new RV spot, which is located at the Norman Hall parking lot near Sorority Row. Todd said they had been in their old spot for about 13 years. Though they liked their old spot and the people around them, he said many of their friends have moved over to the new parking area.“We like it here better,” Michelle said.To keep these spots each year, they have to renew their spot a few months in advance during the summer.
UF Hispanic Heritage Month hosted their annual Art Fest in the architecture courtyard on Tuesday evening. The overall theme of the event was “The Streets of Old San Juan,” which featured activities and art pieces inspired by the art, cultureand landscape of Puerto Rico. The event aimed to promote “La Pasión por el arte,” or “passion for the arts.” The event exhibited art and performances inspired by Hispanic-Latinx culture and heritage, food catered by Mi Apá Latin Café and artistic activities such as painting and DIY flower crowns.
Over 300 people gathered in the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Sunday night to watch various acts perform in Soulfest, a multicultural talent show. Jania Lowe, a third-year public relations student and director of Soulfest, said the event is meant to showcase and celebrate the diversity and talent within The Gator Nation. The show, which is free for students, was started in 2000. Soulfest has a different theme every year. This year’s theme was Expedition Soulfest: Every Country is Gator Country. Lowe said the goal of this theme is to ensure the representation and inclusion of all Gators because The Gator Nation is global. “Every Gator from wherever they are from and wherever they go is a part of The Gator Nation,” Lowe said. This year’s Soulfest was sponsored by LIFEWTR, and students were able to submit an original art piece that represented the 2019 Soulfest theme. There were three winners of the competition, and their artwork will be displayed in the Reitz Union bookstore. LIFEWTR partnered with the event because they wanted to start a conversation of cultural expression through art.